Lisa Hatchett should have spent her son’s 25 birthday celebrating with him.
“We literally had some of the most amazing parties,” Lisa said. “His friends are still talking about how great Avery’s parties were.”
Instead, Lisa spent the day celebrating his memory.
Avery Hatchett was one of 12 people on board a boat that crashed into the east jetty near the East Pass in the early morning hours of March 18, 2016. Avery and another passenger, Anna Sorokina, were killed while the other 10 people were injured. Sorkina’s body was never found.
The boat’s pilot, Judsen Rodney Cunningham of Destin, faces multiple charges including BUI, negligent manslaughter and theft. His trial is scheduled for later this fall.
An avid spearfisher and diver, Avery’s friends describe him as “magical” and “the most caring person I’ve ever known.”
“He loved everything about the water,” said James Mapp. “He was always happy, always smiling and made friends with everyone very easily.”
Each year since his death, Avery’s friends have gotten together on his birthday, Aug 31, to remember him and celebrate his life.
This year, a group of his friends spent the day picking up trash from around the jetties at the East Pass in honor of Avery.
“On his last birthday (alive), all he wanted to do was go out to the jetties and the beach,” said Christina Gordon, one of Avery’s close friends. “He was always doing something at the jetties. It was just something he would have wanted.”
Gordon said the last time she was with Avery, they went fishing from the jetties.
“He loved that area,” Lisa said about her son. “He was very conscious about the environment and would get so mad when he saw trash on the beach.”
The group ended up collecting 11 bags of trash before the rain forced them to quit. Coincidentally, 11 happened to be Avery’s lucky number and the number on his baseball jersey.
Mapp said this is something he plans on doing in honor of Avery every year.
“For them to do that today, in honor of his name, that was just wonderful,” Lisa said.